Trafford Becomes the First UK Council to Do Away with Library Fines

By February 11, 2018Libraries, News

Bookworms who live in the Manchester borough of Trafford will be pleased to learn that the council has decided to abolish late fines for library books, the first council in the UK to do so. In a statement, the Trafford council stated that fines can be “off-putting for customers” and it hopes that this change will encourage more readers to visit their local library.

As The Guardian reports, the change will come to pass in April of this year and will apply to readers of all ages. It is hoped that this change in the rules will see “a further increase in usage of libraries across the borough.” The council added: “This change also aligns with the Vision 2031 ambition of ‘no one held back, no one left behind’ as there would be no barriers, either actual or perceived, of people accessing libraries and all they had to offer.”

2017 proved to be a strong year for libraries in the area and saw the first increase in library usage in 17 years. Council leader Sean Anstee said: “It’s another way to encourage usage. It will be a permanent change, but we have said to councillors that scrutiny is welcome, to look at the impact of the decision.”

Some have voiced concerns that the removal of fines will see an increase in the number of books going missing, but Anstee disagreed, saying: “We don’t have an issue with people retaining books at the moment and if we didn’t have a book returned, that person’s ability to borrow more books would be removed.”

Anstee referenced Bolton, which removed fines for readers under the age of 16. The council there only made £30,000 a year from fines and, once the fines were removed, library attendance increased.

Trafford currently has 12 libraries, four of which are being rebuilt. Whilst libraries appear to be thriving, others are not. For instance, down south, almost half of Somerset’s 34 libraries are at risk. “We are trying to position them as focal points at the heart of the community,” said Anstee. “It hasn’t been easy to keep them, but it is a choice.”

The removal of fines has been warmly received by library and information association CILIP. Chief executive Nick Poole said: “Libraries are unique public spaces providing free access to reading and learning. They are there for everyone, and anything that removes barriers to joining and using the library is very welcome. Trafford council’s announcement to abolish library fines for all ages is an exceptional development. As long as sums add up then we would like to see all libraries taking similar steps to encourage more members and more reading.”

Church Leaders Call for Ban on LGBT Books, During Banned Books Week

By | Libraries, Literary Events, News | One Comment
Established by the American Library Association in 1982, Banned Books Week begins every year on the last week of September. The week celebrates books that have been censored or outright banned over the years and reminds us of the importance of information and freedom of speech, as well as showing us how books can be used tackle difficult or sensitive topics and themes.

To celebrate the week, a library in Rumford, Maine created a display featuring books that have, and continue to be, banned in various parts of the world. As you can imagine, books focusing on the topic of same-sex relationships are heavily censored, and thus the display featured several LGBT books such as Kabi Nagata’s My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness and David Lev’s Two Boys Kissing. Both books have been released to great acclaim from critics but also face heavy resistance, with Two Boys Kissing being the fifth most banned book of 2016. Read More

New York Public Library Launches Insta Novels

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The New York Public Library is posting versions of classic books along with accompanying animations to its Instagram page in the form of Instagram stories to help encourage the digital generation to read more.

The Insta Novels are part of the NYPL’s new social media initiative to turn Instagram’s stories function into book pages. You can check out the new idea on their Instastory, right here.
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West Virginian Library Reverses Decision Not to Stock Bob Woodward’s ‘Fear’

By | Libraries, New Releases, News, Political | No Comments
A few days ago, it was reported that the Morgan County Public Library in Berkeley Springs, W.Va was refusing to stock the newly released, and much sought after, Bob Woodward book Fear, which takes a critical look at Trump’s time as POTUS. However, following an enormous backlash from local residents, which soon saw the story make headlines, the library has confirmed it will be lending out Fear.

Despite only being published last Friday, Fear has already proven to be one of the biggest books of the year and reportedly sold over 750,000 copies within its first day of sales, it is also the fastest-selling adult book since Harper Lee’s 2015 book Go Set a Watchmen.
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Being a Librarian in the 1800s Was Thought to Be a Dangerous Job for Women

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For many bibliophiles, the idea of being a librarian sounds like a dream come true. No doubt there’s plenty of work to be done, but being surrounded by thousands of books must help take the edge off. However, in the Victorian era, the role of a librarian carried a certain stigma to it, especially for female librarians.

As JSTOR Daily reports, in the late nineteenth century, Librarian Rosalee McReynolds wrote about the potential perils of being a female librarian. As life became more urbanized in the second half of the century, men began moving to more commercial work. Meanwhile, the idea that women should remain at home doing nothing as servants did all the work became a popular status symbol. McReynolds wrote: “Ironically, while a man was judged positively for hard work, he gained further status in accordance with the leisure enjoyed by his womenfolk.” Read More

An Enormous Ancient Library Has Been Discovered in Germany

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In Cologne, Germany, the ruins of a large and ancient library have been unearthed which date back to 200AD. The building is thought to have housed over 20,000, not bad for a library built almost two thousand years ago.

As The Guardian reports, the ruins were first discovered in 2017 during an excavation project that took place on the grounds of a Protestant church in the city’s center. Cologne was founded by the Romans in 50AD under the name ‘Colonia’ and it remains one of Germany’s oldest cities. Archaeologists didn’t initially realise the ruins were once a library and were puzzled by the niches set in the walls for books. Read More

For the Eleventh Year, James Patterson Remains the UK’s Most Borrowed Book from Libraries

By | Libraries, Reading Habits | No Comments
Data gathered by the Public Lending Right (PLR) has found that James Patterson’s thriller books, along with thriller books in general, are the most borrowed books from UK libraries. For the eleventh year in a row, James Patterson has been crowned the most borrowed author from public libraries. In fact, his books have been borrowed over 22 million times since 2007.

As The Guardian reports, Patterson has stated he’s thrilled to be holding on to his crown, while also giving his support for libraries. “I firmly believe that better readers become better thinkers and I think libraries are an integral part of any community, as they are essential in helping to share and spread the joy of reading,” he said. His 2016 novel, Bullseye, was the ninth most borrowed book from UK libraries last year. Read More

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